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Monday, October 18, 2021

Macron of the match: French president dons football kit in charity game

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has his eye firmly on the goal of elections next year, donned his football boots and marshalled the midfield at a charity match on Thursday.

After a kiss from his wife Brigitte, the 43-year-old was all smiles as he took to the pitch in Poissy outside Paris alongside former international defender Marcel Desailly and ex-Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Playing central midfield, Macron drew cheers from the crowd with his first touch — and was given plenty of space to turn from overawed opponents who retreated deferentially as he advanced with the ball.

The fan of Marseille was also allowed to take a penalty, scoring an equaliser with a less-than-ferocious shot that the political centrist sent straight down the middle.

Macron, who played football at university and is a keen tennis player, had spent the day visiting construction sites for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“The aim is not simply to get medals, it will be to put sport at the heart of the nation,” he told reporters, announcing 200 million euros ($232 million) for new sports facilities.

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